A. Inventory of Attorney Files, Trust Assets, and Other Duties. If a lawyer has been transferred to disability inactive or incapacitated status, placed on interim suspension, or has been suspended or disbarred, and there is evidence of non-compliance with Rule 6.3; or if a lawyer has apparently abandoned the lawyer's law practice, or has died, and no partner, shareholder, personal representative, administrator, executor or other responsible party capable of conducting the lawyer's affairs is known to exist, the presiding judge in the judicial district in which the lawyer's primary place of business is located, upon the application of any interested party, may appoint one or more lawyers as a professional trustee, to inventory the active files of the lawyer, to take control of the attorney's trust and business accounts and any trust assets, to take possession of the attorney's law practice, and to take appropriate action, including marshalling assets of the law practice, primarily to protect the interests of the lawyer's clients and secondarily to protect the interests of the lawyer. Notice of such order of appointment must be given to the clerk.
B. Protection of Records. Any professional trustee so appointed is not permitted to disclose information contained in any files without the consent of the client to whom the file relates, except as necessary to carry out the appointment order of the court.
C. Instructions. The professional trustee may apply to the presiding judge in the judicial district issuing the order of appointment for instructions whenever necessary to carry out or conclude the duties and obligations imposed by this rule.
D. Immunity. All professional trustees appointed under this rule have qualified immunity from liability for conduct in the performance of their official duties. This immunity does not extend to employment under section E.
E. Acceptance of Clients. With the consent of any client, the appointed professional trustee may, but need not, accept employment to complete any legal matter.
F. Legal Fees and Costs. The professional trustee is entitled to reimbursement for actual expenses incurred for costs (including physical office overhead, publication of notices, travel, secretarial, telephone, postage, moving and storage expenses) and for reasonable hourly fees. Application for approval of costs and fees must be to the presiding judge in the judicial district issuing the order of appointment at the conclusion of the trusteeship and must be accompanied by an accounting of all assets coming into the professional trustee's possession. Any application must be made on such notice to the board and to the lawyer or, if deceased, to the lawyer's personal representative, or administrator as the court may order. For good cause shown, an interim application for costs and legal fees may be made. The professional trustee shall, from the time of appointment, have absolute priority as an administrative expense against the law practice of the lawyer, including all personal and other property incident to the practice and all legal fees due the lawyer, whether arising before or after the appointment. To the extent such assets of the lawyer are insufficient to pay approved professional trustees fees and costs, the board shall pay the same if funds are available. To the extent the funds of an identifiable interest bearing trust account cannot be traced back to a particular client by the professional trustee, the funds may be applied toward client claims, creditors, and the approved fees and costs of the professional trustee, with the remaining amount deposited into the client protection fund.
Rule 6.4 was adopted effective January 1, 1995, amended effective March 1, 2017.
Section B was amended effective March 1, 2017, to make a technical revision.
Section F was amended effective March 1, 2017, to provide for the disposition of funds in a trust account when the funds cannot be traced to a particular client.